What To Say To Feedback On Things You Can’t Control

Feedback, For Schools / /

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Have you heard feedback on things you can’t control? 

“I cannot believe school was delayed again! It was only rain! Don’t people know how much of a hassle this is?”

“The cafeteria food is awful!  Too much fat and sugar, and the kids just waste it!”

“The school calendar makes no sense.  Why is there another winter break in February? What am I supposed to do with kids off for 3 days?”

We have all received feedback that we might understand (and even agree with!), but where the decision isn’t ours to make or we can’t control the situation. Explaining that to an irate parent can only make them more frustrated because they might think you don’t hear them or don’t want to. If you just stand by the decision, it can seem like you are being defensive or dismissive. Both scenarios can break trust and leave everyone feeling dissatisfied or more upset. 

Cate Reed, seasoned administrator, current Senior Vice President of Teach For America, and Possip Reporter, highlights ways to accept and address feedback when the situation is outside your purview.

There is hope – keep striving for a feedback-rich culture! While receiving feedback about something over which you have no control can be challenging, you can take steps to make the feedback and the interaction productive! 

Acknowledge the Feedback and Appreciate the Person Sharing It

Begin by acknowledging that you have received the feedback. This shows that you are open to communication and value the input of others. Thank the person for taking the time to provide feedback. Even if the feedback is difficult or you disagree with it, expressing gratitude for their perspective can help maintain a positive tone. 

Next Step: Send a quick email, a voice note, or even a text stating you acknowledge receipt, and thank them for taking the time to reach out.